August 22, 2014

If there's one thing I learned in 20 years as a reporter, it's that when a big story breaks, there are always so many contradictory stories floating around, it's almost impossible to get a grip on what actually happened. Defense attorneys know that controlling the media narrative (and tainting the local jury pool) is helpful to their case (in this case, the St. Louis police department seems to have appointed itself Darren Wilson's unofficial defense attorney), so the first stories we hear are unlikely to be accurate -- as we see with this highly exaggerated "eye socket" story:

Earlier this week, Fox News reported that Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old unarmed Michael Brown, suffered a fractured eye socket following his confrontation with the teenager. The reporter,Hollie McKay, cited a “source close to the [police] department’s top brass” as providing that information to the network.

However, on CNN Thursday, Don Lemon reported that Wilson did not suffer a fractured or broken eye socket and was rather treated at the hospital for swelling around his face and eyes. Noting that that specific injury has not been reported by CNN, “but is making its way around other media organization,” Lemon cited a “source close to the investigation” who told CNN that Wilson’s x-rays came back negative for a fractured eye socket.

“That source says it is not true, at all, he did not have a torn eye socket,” Lemon said. “Unequivocally.”

Even without arguing the specifics of the Michael Brown case, there is one thing we do know for certain: Black men are gunned down by cops under the flimsiest of pretexts all the time.

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